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Патент USA US3085791

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April 16, 1963
G. M. LA POINTE
3,085,781
VALVE ACTUATOR
Filed Jan. 15, 1962
V:
4 Sheets-Sheet 1
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INVENTOR
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ATTORNEY
April 16, 1963
e. M. LA POINTE
3,085,781
VALVE ACTUATOR
Filed Jan. 15, 1962
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April 16, 1963
G. M. LA POINTE
3,085,781
VALVE ACTUATOR
Filed Jan. 15, 1962
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4 Sheets-Sheet 3
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FIG 2
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INVENTOR
GABRIEL M. LAPO/IVTE'
April 16. 1963
G. M. LA POINTE
VALVE ACTUATOR
3,085,781
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Filed Jan. 15, 1962
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4 Sheets-Sheet 4
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INVENTOR
- “GABRIEL-2M. LAPOl/VTE
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ATTORNEY
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States Patent
3,085,781
Patented Apr. 16, 1963
2
1
In the description which follows, the expression “oper
3,085,781
VALVE ACTUATOR
_
Gabriel M. La Pointe, Worcester, Mass, assignor to
R & A Machine Company, Inc., Worcester, Mass, a
corporation of Massachusetts
Filed Jan. 15, 1962, Ser. No. 166,032
2 Claims. (Cl. 251-67)
ative condition” will be used to refer to the normal posi
tion of a valve in a hydraulic system, which position may
be either open or closed, while the expression “inopera
tive condition” will be used to refer to the opposite posi
tion of the valve, therefore, may also either be closed
or open.
This invention relates to a value actuator and more
Referring ?rst to FIGS. 1, 2, and 3, wherein are best
shown the general features of the invention, it can be seen
tion in the case of power failure. In many of these de
20 to move from an inoperative condition to an operative
particularly to apparatus arranged to open and close a 10 that the valve actuator, indicated generally by the refer
ence numeral 10, is being used in conjunction with a ball
valve automatically.
valve 11 located in a pipe line 512. The actuator is sup
It has been common practice in the past to open and
ported on brackets 13 nad 14 which are clamped to the
close valves by using a motorized actuator operated either
pipe line 12 on either side of the valve 11 and which carry
electrically, pneumatically or hydraulically. However,
most of the known devices for opening and closing valves 15 adjustable shelves 15 and 16, respectively, which support
the actuator and to which it is bolted. An adapter 17
have suffered from certain handicaps. For instance,
connects a vertical output shaft 18 of the actuator to the
motor driven actuators have been quite expensive because
stem
19 of the valve. Movement of the stem 19 of the
of the use of reversible motors; also, no‘means has been
valve 11 through approximately 90° causes the valve
provided for returning the valve to an inoperative posi
vices suitable provision has not been made for adjusting
the operating cycle for opening and closing the valve.
Furthermore, problems of inertia of the" parts have re
condition, that is to say, either from “open” to “closed”
or from “closed” to “open” conditions. The actuator 10
is provided with a housing 21 consisting of a base 22
through which the output shaft 18 extends and a cover 23.
sulted in devices which were out rather rapidly. These
and other difficulties experienced with the prior art de 25 The cover is fastened to the base by means of bolts 24
and the base is in turn bolted to the shelves 15 and 16 of
vices have been obviated in a novel manner by the present
the brackets 13 and 14. The cover 23 is provided with
invention.
‘
deep ribs 25 at its upper end to assist in the dissipation
It is an outstanding object of the invention to provide
of heat.
a valve actuator which operates automatically to return
Referring now to FIG. 4, it can be seen that two hori
the valve to an inoperative condition upon loss of elec 30
zontal shelves 26 and 27 are mounted on the base 22
trical power.
and are arranged parallel to and spaced from the base as
Another object of this invention is the provision of a
well as spaced vertically from one another. The output
valve actuator capable of moving a valve either to an
shaft 18 is mounted ‘in a ball bearing 28 located in the
operative position or to an inoperative position but which,
nevertheless, requires only a one-direction electric motor. 35 base 22 and at the upper end in a ball bearing 29 located
in the shelf 26. A large gear 31 is keyed to the shaft
A further object of the present invention is the provi
immediately under the shelf 26. A vertical shaft 32 is
sion of a valve actuator containing adjustable means for
mounted at its lower end in a ball bearing 33‘ and at its
regulating the electrical energization of the actuating
upper
end in a ball bearing 3d mounted in the shelf 26.
motor.
I
Formed on the shaft 32 immediately under the bearing 34
It is another object of the instant invention to provide
is a small gear 35 which meshes with the larger gear 31
a valve actuator in which the inertia of the motor is re
of the output shaft 18. Bolted to the upper surface of
moved from the rotating system as the valve is returned
the base 22 is an upwardly-opening circular retainer 36
to an inoperative position so that, when the valve reaches
which carries a coil spring 37. The inner end of the coil
that position, the shock to the drive system will be min
spring 37 is fastened to the shaft 312 by a pin 38, While
imized.
the other end is fastened to the inner surface of the
It is a further object of the invention to provide a valve
retainer 36. The shaft 32 swings upwardly some distance
actuator having a locking means for retaining the actua
above the upper surface of the shelf 26 and has attached
tor in the operative position of the valve but which is
to
its upper end and keyed thereto a large gear 39.
released and permits the valve to be returned to an in
The
upward end of the output shaft 18 is level with the
50
operative position upon a loss of electrical energy.
upper surface of the shelf 26 and is provided with a bore
With these and other objects in view, as will be apparent
41. In this bore is located a bushing 42 in which rests
to those skilled in the art, the invention resides in the com
the
lower end of a vertical shaft 43. The shaft 43 passes
bination of parts set forth in the speci?cation and covered
through and is mounted in a ball bearing 44- »mounted in
by the claims appended hereto.
55 the upper shelf 27. Formed on the shaft 43 between the
The character of the invention, however, may be best
shelf 27 and the shelf 26 is a small gear 45 which meshes
understood by reference to one of its structural forms, as
with the large gear 39 of the shaft 32. The shaft 43‘
illustrated by the accompanying drawings in which:
extends above the upper surface of the upper shelf 27 a
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the apparatus em
considerable distance and on the upper portion of the shaft
bodying the principles of the present invention;
60 just above the upper shelf 27 is a bushing 46 having on
FIG. 2 is an end elevational view of the apparatus;
its lower end an outwardly extending ?ange 47. Rotatably
FIG. 3 is a plan view of the apparatus;
mounted on the bushing 46 is a large gear 48. The gear
FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the apparatus taken on
is provided with a tubular upstanding hub 49‘ which is
the line IV-~IV of FIG. 3;
provided at its upper end with upwardly-extending teeth
FIG. 5 is a horizontal sectional view of the apparatus 65 51. Keyed to the shaft 4-3 above the hub 49 is a sleeve
taken on the line V-V of FIGJ 4;
52 having downwardly-extending teeth 53 which are
‘FIG. 6 is a vertical sectional view of the apparatus
adapted to engage the teeth 51. The sleeve 52, although
it is keyed to the shaft 43, is capable of longitudinal
taken on the line Vl-—Vl of FIG. 4;
motion therealong and is pressed toward the hub 49 by
FIG. 7 is a horizontal sectional view of the apparatus
70 a coil spring 54 which is compressed between the top of
taken on the line VII--VII of FIG. 4; and
the sleeve 52 and a stop plate 55 fastened to the upper
FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram of the electrical equip
end of the shaft 43.
ment associated with the apparatus.
3,085,781
4
Mounted on the upper surface of the shelf 27 is a plat
cally-opposed ?ngers 102 and 103. The collar 101 and
form 56 which straddles the large gear 48. On this plat
its ?ngers are formed of nylon or some other hard, wear
form is mounted an electric motor 57 of the uni-directional
resistant material and it is suitably fastened to the shaft
so that it rotates with it. A latch member 104 is pivotally
type having a stator 58 provided with a ?eld coil 59.
Extending through the stator is a rotor 61 from the lower
attached to a bolt 105 by which the other side of the
end of which extends a rotor shaft 62. On the lower end
bridge 65 is attached to the top surface of the motor.
of the shaft is mounted a small gear 63 which meshes
The latch member is provided with a ?nger 106 which is
with the large gear 48. The upper end of the shaft 62
capable of residing close to the periphery of the collar
extends well above the top of the stator 58 and is carried
101 and engaging one of the ?ngers 102 and 103. It is
in a bearing cap 64 which in turn is mounted on a bridge 10 provided with a shoulder 107 capable of being readily en
65 bolted to the top of the stator.
gaged by the ?nger 99 and also with a ?nger 108 to which
Also mounted on the upper surface of the shelf 27 is a
is attached a coil spring 109. The other end of the coil
pedestal 66 on top of which is mounted a solenoid 67
spring is attached to an abutment 110 extending upwardly
having a coil 68 and a plunger 69 which is spring-biased
from one end of a stamped metal plate 111 which is
to its outermost position and is withdrawn into the sole
bolted to the upper surface of the stator 58. At the other
noid by energization of the coil 68.
end the plate 111 is provided with a stop 112 which
Mounted on the upper surface of the base 22 is a sup
port 71 on which is mounted a limit switch 72. Mounted
serves to limit the pivotal movement of the latch member
104. The latch member 104 is also made of a wear
resistant material such as nylon.
on the large gear 31 and extending downwardly therefrom
is a pin 73 for actuating the switch. At the opposite sides 20
of the gear is mounted another pin 74 for limiting move
ment of the valve actuator by engagement with a block
mounted on the underside of the shelf 26.
Referring now to FIG. 5, it can be seen that the sup
FIG. 8 shows the electrical arrangement used in the
apparatus. Two lines 113 and 114 enter the apparatus and
are connected to a source of alternating current electricity.
Connected directly across these lines is the coil 68 of
the solenoid 67.
Also connected in series with one an
port 71 is provided with vertically upstanding abutments 25 other from one line to the other is the ?eld coil 59 of the
75 and 76 in which is mounted for sliding movement a
horizontal switch-actuating shaft 77. The shaft extends
motor 57 and the limit switch 72. Externally of the ap
paratus the user may furnish the apparatus with a power
switch 115 and an indicating light 116.
through the abutments 75 and 76 and at one end is pro
vided with a screw driver slot 78, while at the other end
The operation of the apparatus will now be readily
is provided with a stop plate 79 and a coil spring 81. 30 understood in view of the above description. Let us sup
The center of the shaft is provided with an enlarged
pose that the valve actuator 10 is to be used with the
threaded portion 82 having a conical transition surface
valve 11 in such a manner that the operative position
83 at the end closest to the abutment 76. This transition
will be when the valve is open and the inoperative posi
surface is located close to the actuating member 84 of the
tion will be when the valve is closed. Such a situation
switch 72. Resting on the upper surface of the support
may exist, for example, in an oil line going to the oil
71 between the abutments 75 and 76 is a block 85 through
burner of the furnace. Since, in such cases it is not only
which the enlarged portion 82 of the shaft 77 is threaded.
desirable to open and shut the valve to control the flow
An abutment 86 extends vertically upwardly from the end
of oil to the burner under ordinary circumstances, but
of the block 85 adjacent the transition surface 83. This
it is very desirable that, when electrical power is lost, the
abutment extends upwardly far enough to make contact 40 oil flow be stopped. This would be because the loss
with the pin 73 on occasion. Incidentally, this view of
of electrical power would mean that ignition of the oil
the device shows particularly well the four corner posts
would be uncertain because of the fact that electric ig
87 on which the shelves 26 and 27 are mounted. Also,
niters are often used with such oil burners. It would
in this view can be seen the manner in which the other
then be desirable that, when power is lost, the valve 11
end of the spring 37 is fastened to the retainer 36 by 45 be closed. Let us, then, suppose that the valve is in closed
means of a hook 88 formed in its end and engaging a
position at the beginning of the cycle. The operator
slot 89 in the retainer.
closes the switch 115 thus introducing power into the
FIG. 6 shows the manner in which the shelves 26 and
system. First of all, the solenoid 67 is energized and
27 are mounted on the posts 87. Between the upper sur
its plunger is retracted. The motor 57 is also energized
face of the base 22 and the under surface of the shelf 26 50 and the ?rst power to its coil 59 causes a magnetic ?eld
a sleeve 91 surrounds the post and supports the shelf.
Between the shelf 26 and the shelf 27 a sleeve 92 sur
rounds each post and serves to support and separate the
shelves. Then, the upper end of each post is provided with
a threaded portion 93 on which a nut 94 is mounted
which holds all of the elements together to form a unitary
structure.
Referring now to FIG. 7, it can be seen that the stator
around the stator 58 and this attracts the lever 95 and
causes the body 98 to lie closly against the side of the
stator. At that time the ?nger 99 contacts the shoulder
107 on the latch member 104 and causes it to be pivoted
in a counter-clockwise direction in FIG. 7 away from
any contact with the collar 101 or its ?ngers 102 and
103. The energization of the motor causes the rotor
61 and the shaft 62 to rotate, carrying the small gear
58 of the motor 57 has hingedly attached to its upper
63 with them, this gear being in engagement with the
surface a stamped metal lever 95 which is pivoted around 60 large gear 48 causing it to turn. Power is transmitted
a bolt 96 which also serves to fasten the bridge 65 to the
between the teeth 51 of the hub 49 and the teeth 53 of
top of the motor. The lever 95 is provided with a ?nger
the sleeve 52. Since the sleeve 52 is keyed to the shaft
43, this shaft rotates also, carrying with it the small
97 which extends downwardly around the side surface of
gear 45. The small gear 45 is in engagement with the
the rotor or stator 58 and permits only a small pivotal
movement of the lever. The lever is provided with a 65 large gear 39 and this, in turn, rotates the shaft 32.
‘Thus, as the rotor of the motor continues to rotate, the
broad curved body 98 which ?ts around the side and
spring 37 is wound up. At the same time that the shaft
corners of the stator 58 which are adjacent the solenoid
32 is winding the spring 37, its small gear 35 is rotating
67. The lever is formed of magnetic material such as
in engagement with the large gear 31 which is keyed to
steel so that it will be attracted to the stator when the
70
the output shaft 18. The output shaft, of course, rotates
motor is energized. Extending away from the body in a
at a very slow speed due to the gear reduction through
generally horizontal direction from its upper edge is a
?nger 99, the ?nger being located on the opposite side of
the drives and the valve is slowly opened. Eventually,
the gear 31 rotates in a clockwise direction looking down
the rotor 61 from the pivot bolt 96. Fastened to the shaft
ward and the pin 73 soon strikes the abutment 86 on the
62 of the rotor 61 is a collar 101 having radial, diametri~ 75 block 85. Continued pressure of this pin causes the
3,085,781
5
6
55, but there is no transmittal of energy from the ro
shaft 77 to slide in its mounting in the abutments 75
tating motor rotor into the shaft 43 and down through
and 76 overcoming the resistance of the coil spring 81.
the system into the valve. The motor continues to ro
Finally, the conical transition surface 83 contacts the
tate until its bearing friction slows it down and brakes
actuating member 84 of the limit switch 72 and opens
it to a ‘stop. It can be seen that the separation of the
the switch. The moment when this takes place is ad
motor rotor from the rest of the system prevents damage
justed so that the switch is opened at the exact moment
to the parts because of the high inertia.
that the valve is completely open. This adjustment can
It is obvious that minor changes may be made in the
be made by rotating the shaft 77 by means of the screw
form and construction of the invention without depart
driver slot 78, thus adjusting the position of the block
85 transversely of the apparatus so that the pin 73 causes 10 ing from the material spirit thereof. It is not, however,
desired to con?ne the invention to the exact form herein
the transition surface to contact the actuating member
shown and described, but it is desired to include all such
84 of the switch sooner or later, depending on the direc
as properly come within the scope claimed.
tion in which the shaft 77 has been screwed through the
The invention having been thus described, What is
block. As soon as the switch 72 has been opened, the
motor stops because no current is ?owing through its 15 claimed as new and desired to secure by Letters Patent is:
l. A valve actuator, comprising an output shaft adapt
coil 59, although the current continues to ?ow through
ed to be connected to the valve stem, an electric motor,
the coil 68 of the solenoid 67 so that its plunger 69‘ is
a speed reduction means connecting the motor the shaft
drawn inwardly. Since the stator of the motor no longer
for moving the valve from an inoperative condition to an
attracts the lever §5, it cannot prevent the latch member
operative condition, a storage spring connected to the
104 from rotating in the direction that it is urged by
motor to store energy while the motor is moving the
the coil spring 109 and, thus, force the body 98 of the
lever away from the stator 58 of the motor. At the same
valve to operative condition, the spring biasing the speed
time, the latch member swings counter-clockwise in FIG.
reduction means so as to move the valve from operative
7 and comes into the range of the ?ngers 102 and 103
of the motor. The moment that the motor is no longer
energized, the spring 37, of course, exerts torque on the
gear reduction apparatus to try to rotate the rotor 61
condition to inoperative condition, a switch controlling
the flow of electricity to the motor, a contactor associated
with the speed reduction means located so as to strike and
to open the switch when the valve reaches operative con
dition, an electrically-operated lock which when ener
of the motor in the opposite direction, but the latch mem
gized prevents the spring from acting to move the valve
ber 1104 almost immediately contacts one of the ?ngers
from operative to inoperative condition, and an over
102 and 193 and prevents the reverse rotation of the motor
running clutch associated with the speed reduction means
rotor. The apparatus remains in this condition as long
to disconnect the portion of the speed reduction means
as it is desirable to have the valve open. Interruption
connecting the spring to the shaft from the motor when
of the current into the apparatus, however, will cause the
the valve has reached the inoperative condition, the clutch
valve to shut. This can be accomplished either by the
operator opening the switch 115 or by a loss of power. 35 consisting of an intermediate shaft connected to the out
put shaft, a member rotatable on the intermediate shaft,
In either case, the loss of power to the coil 68 of the
a sleeve slidable but not rotatable relative to the inter
solenoid 67 causes its plunger to move outwardly toward
mediate ishaft, a spring pressing the sleeve into engage~
the lever 95 under the impetus of the spring bias that is
ment with the member, the member and sleeve being
built into the solenoid. When this occurs, the lever body
98 is thrown against the stator 58 of the motor and the 40 formed with engaging teeth each With an inclined surface
on one side and a surface extending axially of the inter
?nger 99 contacts the shoulder 107 of the latch member
mediate shaft on the other side.
104 and forces the latch member to rotate counter
2. A valve actuator, comprising an output shaft adapt
clockwise very rapidly. This action releases the ?ngers
ed to be connected to a valve stem, an electric motor,
102 and MP3 of the collar 101 that the latch member
was until that moment contacting and the motor rotor
61 is free to rotate. It does this because of the energy
stored in the spring 37. The spring acts through the
shaft 32, the small gear 35, the large gear 31, and the
a speed reduction means connecting the motor to the
shaft for moving the valve from an inoperative condi
tion to an operative condition, a storage spring connected
to the motor to store energy while the motor is moving
the valve to operative condition, the spring acting to
output shaft 18 to close the valve. At the same time that
the output shaft 18 is being rotated, the spring is also ro 50 move the valve from operative condition to inoperative
condition, a switch controlling the ?ow of electricity to
tating the shaft 32 and working through the large gear 39,
the motor, a contactor associated with the speed reduc
the small gear 45, and the shaft 43 to transmit power
tion means located to open the switch when the valve
through the sleeve 52, the large gear 48, and the small
reaches operative condition, an electrically-operated lock
gear ‘63 to rotate the motor rotor. The motor rotor
rotates along with the other elements at a very rapid 55 which when energized prevents the spring from moving
the valve from operative to inoperative condition, the
rate until, eventually, the valve is closed. At that time
lock consisting of a solenoid with the plunger normally
it is arranged that the pin 74 of the large gear 41 strike
spring-biased when not energized away from the motor,
a block which is fastened to the lower surface of the
a collar with an outwardly-extending ?nger fastened to
shelf 26 and this block is arranged and adjusted so that
the pin 74 strikes it just as the valve reaches its closed 60 the motor shaft, a latch member rotatably mounted near
the collar and spring biased to a contact with the collar
position. The sudden stopping of the gear 31 makes
?nger, a lever mounted on the motor and held in posi
itself felt through the small gear 35, the shaft 32, the
tion by magnetic attraction when the motor is energized,
large gear 39, the small gear 45 and the shaft 43 to the
the lever having a ?nger which engages the latch mem
position of the sleeve 52. Since the motor rotor has
ber and maintains it out of engagement with the collar
65
considerable inertia, it wishes to continue to rotate, and
?nger when the motor is energized, an over-running
the sudden stopping of the sleeve 52 causes the teeth
clutch associated with the speed reduction means to dis
51 and 52 to slide relative to one another. The motor
connect the portion of the speed reduction means con
rotor with its large inertia continues to drive the shaft
necting the spring to the shaft from the motor when the
62, the small gear 63, and the large gear 48 along with
the hub 49. However, as is evident in FIG. 4, the teeth 70 valve has reached the inoperative condition, the clutch
51 and 52 and 53 are so made that their inclined sur
faces permit the hub 49 to proceed ahead of the sleeve
52 or, in other words, over-ride it. The camming of the
inclined surfaces of the teeth in this manner causes a
consisting of an intermediate shaft connected to the out
put shaft, a member rotatably mounted on the intermedi
ate shaft, a sleeve slidable but not rotatable relative to
the intermediate shaft, a spring pressing the sleeve into
compression of the coil spring 54 against its stop plate 75 engagement with the member, the member and sleeve
8,085,781
7
8
being formed with engaging teeth each with an inclined
tuate the switch when the shaft is moved in the direction
surface on one side and a surface extending axially of
the intermediate shaft on the other side, a support on
which the switch is mounted, a shaft mounted on the
of its length.
support for motion in the direction of its length, the last- 5
named shaft having a threaded portion, a block mounted
on
contactor,
the threaded
a sprmg
portion
resisting
in position
movement
to beofengaged
the saidbylastthe
named shaft, a portion of the shaft being formed to ac
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
UNITED STATES PATENTS
2,904,956
1931:2281“
Zenor _______________
-----------__
" Sept.
5312' 22',
Z’ 1959
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